Saturday, March 8, 2008

Aim For The Throat, Damn It

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) runs the gambit in his assessments concerning Barack Obama. He gets it exactly right on the issues that Obama pulling us out of Iraq would be a catastrophe and that Obama, right now, is the favored candidate of al Qaeda and other assorted Middle East radicals. Great points central to the election - so time to shut up and let Obama try to talk his way around this one.

If only. Instead, Rep. King takes out his pistol, aims it at his foot, and proceeds to blasting away. Rep. King goes on to argue that Obama's middle name and his Kenyan heritage are reasons not to vote for him. Rep. King is just royally stupid. Obama's campaign should have been responding to King's critical first points. Instead, Obama's campaign was ignoring the substance and asking McCain to disassociate himself from all that Rep. King had said.


Representative Steve King of Iowa gave an interview today. And he was dead on point:

"I will tell you that, if [Obama] is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror."

King thinks radical Islamists will say the United States has capitulated because the Obama administration would be pulling troops out of any conflict associated with al-Qaida.

This is beyond question. And no less a person than the West's premier Orientalist, Professor Bernard Lewis, has delivered warning of the profound, dire and lasting reprucussions if we are seen as weak and come to be viewed as conceding victory to al Qaeda by withdrawing from Iraq. And there is simply no way around the fact that this is precisely how an Obama directed withdraw from Iraq would be played. It is Obama's greatest weakness. And it is why his arguments about leaving Iraq all deceptively center on a "wrong decision" in 2003, not the reality of 2008 and the future ramifications of a withdrawal.

And King is absolutely right that Obama's Iraq policy, and his Iran policy for that matter, make Obama the favored candidate of radical Islamists everywhere. Gateway Pundit notes: "The "Axis of Evil" all rejoiced when the antiwar Democrats took Congress in 2006.The "Axis of Evil" was ecstatic! They were celebrating: In Syria; In Iran; By Al Qaeda in Iraq; By Hugo Chavez in Venezuela; In North Korea; Even Cuba. They’ll be dancing in the streets if Obama- or Hillary- win the White House in 2008, too." And as Gateway Pundit has catalogued in other posts, Obama already has the Iran endorsement sewn up this time around, not mention the FARC endorsement.

Those are both incredibly powerful arguments. Those are both valid arguments that we need to make the center of debate.

What is not valid are King's other arguments, both stated and implied:

"I don't want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name - whatever their religion their father might have been," he said. "I'll just say this: When you think about the option of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States -- I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?"

. . . "his middle name (Hussein) does matter," King said. "It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. That has a special meaning to them. They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They will be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: Pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict."

Folks, if this campaign becomes about Barack Hussein Obama's middle name or his ethnicity rather than his insane politics and his lack of veracity, we lose. Race - and gender - matter in this campaign and if the right does anything that smacks of racial or gender politics, they are going to get savaged by the left wing press.

McCain - and Karl Rove - have it exactly right on this. The word Hussein used in any reference to Obama is verbotten. And if the language "all men are created equal" has any meaning, so is any reference to Obama's lineage as a disqualifying factor. And Rick Moran is dead on point, that all this "Obama is a Muslim crap" needs to stop now.

Trying to target the Obamamessiah on the basis of a name given to him by his parents over four decades ago and which tells us nothing about how Obama will govern is a wholly unnecessary cheap shot, it will be portrayed as racism, and it may well cost the right the election if it keeps getting repeated. Targeting Obama because of his ethnicity will accomplish the same result, just exponentially faster. Moreover, and more importantly, both are morally wrong in my book.

Both the Obama and the Clinton candidacies provide vehicles to establish our national bona fides as having put the racial, gender and ethnic divides largely behind us on a national level. Their campaigns are historic and need to be treated with honor and respect. The way to accomplish that is to keep this election wholly about issues - not cheap shots, not bias - and then to vote on the issues. The flip side to that is that many on the left are going to be casting their vote based on "white liberal guilt." I suspect that there are a lot of voters in the middle who might be convinced that using liberal guilt as a basis for making their choice will be justified if they perceive the right as validating the race, gender, or any other victim card this election.

Obama's policies provide a target rich environment. Obama's electoral history provides a target rich environment. Obama's associations provide a target rich environment. Obama has some real problems with telling the truth to the American public and he is being less than forthcoming in answering questions. With this plethora of targets, why get penalized for hitting below the belt when you can go straight for the jugular?

Update: Indeed, you can leave the cheap shotting to the NYT. They are the best weapon we have in the far left camp:

- On the Campaign Trail, Few Mentions of McCain’s Bout With Melanoma

- McCain Grows Testy on Question About ’04 and Kerry Partnership

- For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk

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